- Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control division is being tapped to provide work for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The $164 million contract modification provides for performances as part of the ongoing Terminal Field Support Contract (TFSC), with a current value totaling at $725 million. Lockheed will continue with its efforts under the TFSC which include services such as forward stationing for theater support, logistics information capabilities, post deployment software support and security and engineering services. THAAD is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets such as population centers and industrial resources as well as military forces. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside the US, including Huntsville, Alabama; Sunnyvale, California and Grand Prairie, Texas. The ordering period remains from March 25, 2010, through March 31, 2019.
- The Navy is contracting Northrop Grumman for repair work in support of its F-18 fleet. The long-term contract is valued at $38.4 million and provides for the repair of the Automated Support System Electro-Optic Console to support Fleet repairs of the F-18 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) weapon systems. The AN/USM-636(V) Consolidated Automated Support System (CASS) is a computer-assisted, multi-functional Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) used to test various electronic components in use by the Navy. CASS is a five-rack integrated test system is designed to accommodate variations in workload and allow for Test Program Set transferability among the different configurations. ATFLIR gives naval aviators a three- to five-fold increase in target- recognition range. Its infrared and electro-optical (television format) sensors can detect tactical threats at unprecedented ranges, delivering images that are three to five times clearer than previous systems. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and will be completed by July 2023.
Middle East & Africa
- The Pakistan Navy (PN) is increasing its maritime surveillance capabilities. The PN now has two ATR-72 twin-engine turboprops converted into maritime patrol aircraft in its inventory. The ATR-72 currently on offer by Italian vendor Leonardo-Finmeccanica which uses the ATR-72-600 as its base platform. This aircraft is capable of ASW operations through the use of a fitted sono-buoy launcher and pylons for lightweight ASW torpedoes. The Pakistan Navy operates the slighter smaller ATR-72-500, but this should not impact its capabilities. Typical MPA missions include vessel search and identification; economic exclusive zone patrol (fishing, off-shore platforms); drug, smuggling and piracy control; search and rescue (SAR); disaster surveillance; maritime patrol roles; and Anti-Submarine Warfare. Rheinland Air Service had signed a contract in 2015 to convert two ATR-72 aircraft already owned by the Pakistan Navy into MPAs. Aerodata provided the platform with its AeroMission mission management system. Work on the project commenced in January 2016 after export approvals were received from the German government.
- The Iranian military will receive up to 800 new and upgraded tanks in the coming years. Reza Mozaffariniya, the deputy minister for industry in the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) said in an interview that the Ministry plans to upgrade and produce around 50 – 60 tanks annually at its production facility in Dorud. The tanks to be built will be most likely the Karrar and the Zolfaghar. The Karrar closely resembles the Russian-made T-90MS but also has features of American Abrams M1 and British Challenger 2 tanks. The Karrar MBT is fitted with a new welded turret which is armed with a 125 mm smoothbore gun fitted with a fume extractor and a thermal sleeve and can fire all standard ammunitions. Its turret is equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun and includes a day/night sight, a thermal imager and a laser rangefinder. The Zolfaqar III is the latest and most advanced version in the Zulfiqar family that comes with a variety of upgrades. They include improving the fire navigation system, chassis, and armament, engine and laser system, to increase the operational capabilities of the tank. The wheels of the variant will be covered by an armored skirt and a reinforced turret. The Iranian Army is currently conducting research and test operation on this platform.
- Northrop Grumman is being contracted to support the US Army’s Regional Cyber Center-Europe. The awarded contract modification has a value of $16.6 million and provides for non-personal Information Technology support services. Wiesbaden is home to US Army’s 5th Signal Command. The Gray Cyber Operations Center is tasked with consolidating tactical, theater and strategic communications functions to support the US European Command, US Africa Command and US Army Europe. The Cyber Command’s main responsibility is to direct, and conduct networked based warfare, ensuring freedom of action in and through cyberspace and the information environment, and to deny the same to adversaries. Work will be performed in Wiesbaden Erbenheim, Germany, with an estimated completion date of July, 2019.
- German defense manufacturer H3 Grob Aircaft is currently investing in a broad range of new capabilities, including a special-mission variant of the Cessna Caravan and its proven G120TP trainer. Both platforms can now be outfitted with an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance pod beneath its fuselage. The Cessna Caravan’s equipment can include a Leonardo Seaspray 3300 surveillance radar and a Hensoldt Argos-II, 16in electro-optical/infrared sensor. The G120TP can be equipped with a system that comprises a Trakka Systems TC-300 305mm EO/IR turret, Leonardo PicoSAR lightweight synthetic aperture radar and a line-of-sight downlink. The 132 lb. heavy system can be integrated on the starboard wing using an innovative “glove” mount.
- Romania intends to buy more F-16s to further increase its fleet strength. In 2016 the country became the latest operator of the F-16 following delivery of the first six from a total of twelve from Portugal for a price of $734 million. The deal included nine F-16AM single-seaters and three F-16BM two-seaters as well as an overhaul of engines and a number of services. Romania now plans to buy five more F-16 fighter jets from Portugal, four single seaters and one dual seater, by the end of this year. It also intends to purchase 36 more such aircraft in the future from other NATO countries like the US and Greece, but also Israel is an option.
- The Lao People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is currently taking delivery of the first batch of four repaired Mi-17 helicopters. The helicopters were delivered by Russian Helicopters, thus completing the first service contract between the Russian holding company and the Lao Ministry of Defense. The PLAAF has a moderate fleet of aircraft, including a total of 11 Mi-17 transport helicopters. The Mi-17 is an improved export version of the Mi-8 helicopter, fitted with more powerful engines and with some other minor improvements. The helicopter has a crew of 3, including pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer. The Mi-17 can carry 24 passengers and even small vehicles. It has an 8000 lb. internal payload capacity. Alternatively, it can carry underslung loads weighting up to 6000 lb. The Mi-17 can be armed with window-mounted 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm trainable machine guns.
- Watch: Automatic Air Collision Avoidance System explained by USAF pilot